The PS Vita shooter TxK will not be released on PlayStation 4, PC, Oculus Rift, GearVR, or Android, due to its creator allegedly receiving legal pressure from Atari.
Jeff Minter, who previously worked at Atari when developing Tempest 2000, says the publisher is preventing him from releasing TxK onto other platforms due to copyright claims.
Atari released the first Tempest game in 1981, as part of a partnership with its original creator Dave Theurer. Then in 1994, it released Tempest 2000, which was developed by Minter. Twenty years later, Minter released TxK onto the PS Vita, a game which has demonstrably been inspired by the Tempest formula.
Due to its status as rights holder, Atari has issued Minter with legal documents alleging copyright theft. According to Minter’s account of the situation, Atari has listed numerous similarities between Tempest 2000 and TxK.
According to Minter, Atari is also accusing him of “deliberately setting out to cash in on Atari's copyrighted Tempest name, by giving my game a deliberately obscure name of TxK."
Minter did not explain whether Atari is seeking damages, and was not able to respond to requests for comment at time of going to press. He did state, however, that the publisher wants the PS Vita version removed from sale.
“I think they thought I was somehow making loads and loads of money on the Vita version of TxK, I guess because it did garner excellent reviews and a bit of positive press. But the Vita isn't a massive market, TxK made back its development advance and a bit more and that was it,” he said.
“They kept hassling us and eventually I sent them sales statements so that they could see for themselves that we weren't getting super rich out of it. I even tried to point out that if there was any serious money to be made out of it, it would likely be from the ports we were making, and that we were willing to negotiate about obtaining 'official' branding for, if it meant they could at least be released, but we were met with nothing more than intransigence."
He continued: “Even after having shown them that, they are still trying to insist that I remove from sale Vita TxK, even though it's plainly at the end of its run now and only brings in a trickle these days, and sign papers basically saying I can never make a Tempest style game ever again. So no chance of releasing the ports."
Minter went onto describe Atari's legal charges as “all abject bollocks." and claims that the financial burden of answering these accusations in court would be too costly.
“Even just going back and forth a few times with letters responding to their threats ended up running up a couple of grand in legal bills, and there is simply no way on God's earth I can afford any kind of a legal battle," he said.